Ask JoeB: What Do you Think Of This Picture?

by Joe on February 16, 2012

in Ask JoeB

What do you see?

Since I posted two comments on the same day???? I wanted to post this one again to make sure everyone had a chance to see it:

Daniel sent me this photograph and wanted to know what I thought of it.

He said he liked this picture because the silhouettes are the subject and they pull the eye to them. He also likes the way his friends are looking at each other and that the beams and the trees create patterns around them.

When I first saw the photo and read his description my first thought was that Daniel was being too esoteric. In other words that all may be well and good, but I’m thinking you had to be there to see what he saw in a three dimensionally reality. Trying to portray this in a two-dimensional representation, as in a photograph, is not an easy task…for anyone, myself included.  I would tell Daniel what I tell everyone in my online class with the PPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around the planet, that he won’t always be around to explain his thinking to the viewer. It has to be able to stand on its own. The exception being an abstract. What I’m talking about is  an idea that lives only in the photographer’s thought process and not made up of any concrete existence.

To me, Daniel’s photo is closer to being in a three dimensional reality than an abstraction. Therefore, it needs to be what I call a “quick read”. The silhouettes have to stand out. There could also be a discussion about whether the silhouettes need to be easily recognized, or if they could be discovered as the viewer looks at this image. My thinking is why take that chance? Sure, it would be great if the viewer were to discover them after looking at this photo, but how long is the viewer going to give it before he just scratches his head and moves on.

Although I really like the colors as they are in harmony with one another, the fact is that the composition so busy that I get lost trying to figure out what’s going on here. His friends now that he mentions it could be looking at one another and the camera, but he had to tell me. because the body language has been overtaken by all the branches. There are so many lines going in and out of each silhouette that I can’t tell where their bodies and arms begin and where they end.

If it had been me with my friends, I might have easily become carried away with the fun I was having and forgotten to what I refer to as “stepping back and considering the scene, and its outcome”.

I almost thing it would look better without the three friends (and at least a stop brighter). This way it would just be a study of line, shape, texture, and color.

One of my Personal Pearls of Wisdom is “In a perfect world, what if”. What I mean is:  what if Daniel could go back and could take this photo again and have anything at his disposal and be able to do anything he wanted…what would he do?

If it were me, I would go back with my Canon 5D Mark II and a 300mm 2.8 lens and of course a tripod. I would get back far enough to get close to this same composition and focus only on the silhouettes with my lens set on 2.8. That way, I would have the three silhouettes sharp and everything behind them completely out of focus. Then, they just might become the subject.

Thanks Daniel for your submission. It looked like you were having a lot of fun!!! I hope this helped.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com and check out my 2012 workshop schedule at the top of this page and come shoot with me sometime. Send me your photo and ask me a question. I’ll always take the time to answer you

JoeB

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